The Grimy Claws of QAnon, And The Truth Behind #SaveTheChildren

The Grimy Claws of QAnon, And The Truth Behind #SaveTheChildren

Anti Defamation League

Ryan Petty, Staff

It started off simple, with a post on 4chan’s /pol/ board. 4chan is a media platform that has little to no oversight and censorship, and /pol/, or politically incorrect, was a mainstay that is famous for it’s “ironic” xenophobic humor, and penchant for actually getting people into the alt-right and conspiracy theories. This post was made by an anonymous individual, who would later be known as Q.

The first post made by an anonymous user on 4chan, called Q. HRC is in reference to Hillary Rodham Clinton, NG is in reference to National Guard. (Screenshot by Ryan Petty)

So began what is now 4,902 posts (as of writing) on both 4chan and it’s more insidious cousin, 8kun, once known as 8chan. Now, one might have noticed that the post refers to the arresting of Hillary Clinton on October 30th, 2017. Aside from the time posted being curiously specific (12:01 pm? On the dot?), the event never came to pass. Since then, there have been many predictions made by the mysterious Q, which, likewise, never come to pass. Despite this, there is a startling amount of Americans who have been gripped by the narrative that Q has spun. Along with those who were influenced directly from Q’s posts, there is a Trojan Horse that has allowed their ideology to infect the minds of Suburban families: The recent #SaveTheChildren movement. What is QAnon, and what claims are Americans across the country and in our communities accepting? How has QAnon become such a large issue?

The Claims of QAnon

At it’s heart, QAnon can be boiled down to a Good vs. Evil story.

The evil that QAnon speaks of is a cabal of satanic cannibal pedophiles, consisting of Democrats, Hollywood stars, and even some Republicans. The Good is Donald Trump, current president of the United States. They say that he is leading an investigation of Democrats, and that their reckoning will come in the form of “The Storm”. All the satanists, pedophiles and cannibals that plague our politics, they say, will be purged and brought to justice, and America will have a Great Awakening from it’s dark and progressive slumber. This hadn’t happened on the date of November 3rd, 2017 (When it was originally slated to happen by Q), and the odds are that it will never happen. It is a fabrication, like most, if not all, of QAnon.

And yet, it never came. (Screenshot by Ryan Petty)

There are a couple stranger claims by Q, as well. For instance, the claim that John F. Kennedy Jr. is alive, and an avid Trump supporter. Kim Jong Un was placed in power by the CIA. Pizzagate was real. In fact, a wide swath of other conspiracy theories, including the Freemasons, Illuminati and much more are involved in QAnon in some shape or form. It’s one massive rabbit hole of exciting claims and sleuthing, and the sheer variety of subjects the ideology touches on is sure to appeal to plenty of people who’ll find themselves delving into QAnon’s mental muck.

What is Q’s Identity?

Unfortunately, there is no definitive answer. Three people, a streamer and two 4chan mods, are noted as popularizing the theory on their platforms. What QAnon believes is that Q is a high ranking military official, with important inside information that they release as crumbs to the masses. Q, they say, is called Q because they’ve got Q-level clearance, the most important and high level clearance in the military. Some even think that Q is Trump himself. Q-level clearance does exist, sure. The issue is that Q-level clearance is a clearance level for the Department of Energy. Additionally, if it’s that high level, most of the information Q would want to have is on a need to know basis. It would be a fair conclusion to think that a high level Department of Energy member would not get information related to the military, Air Force One, and the inner workings of the White House.

In other words, who exactly Q is is up in the air. However, they’re probably not an authoritative figure, certainly not one worth analyzing every word out of.

The Trojan Horse That Is #SaveOurChildren, And The Spread of QAnon

QAnon had begun circling around in Far-Right spaces for a while, eventually spreading out to more generally conservative, even liberal, places. However, it was #SaveOurChildren movement that launched QAnon from those who frequent the internet to the misled suburban mommybloggers and wellness influencers of the world. In fact, 77 Candidates for Supreme Court these past few months have openly embraced QAnon, and millions are in QAnon Facebook groups.

#SaveOurChildren was originally used by the organization of the same name, whose mission is to bring awareness to a legitimate child-trafficking issue in our world. However, QAnon co-opted the hashtag, spreading it’s particular brand of conspiracy. It makes sense. After all, when you believe there’s a major child-trafficking ring perpetuated by the deep state, you would surely want those who care about the wellness of children to know. So, they posted fake statistics about child trafficking, and connected it to the goings on of the White House. This invited those who followed and saw posts such as these to be gripped by QAnon and dragged down into the JFK Jr.s and Storms of the conspiracy. This process has happened all across the U.S., and has happened to people in out very own community.

#SaveOurChildren has also been used as a defense when questioned about the fabrications of QAnon. If you’re against QAnon and QAnon adjacent conspiracies, you surely don’t care, or are even happy about, all the child trafficking that happens in the world. If you disagree, you are evil, and if not, then misinformed. Of course, any reputable reporting is also denied as you go further down, as it is posited that the media is controlled by the deep state.

QAnon latches on to someone, whether it be through an Instagram post, a recommendation from a friend or the Youtube algorithm. Then it drags them down, and tells them small, believable lies, so they can later embrace the large lies at breakneck speeds. The #SaveOurChildren movement is just another way to that goal.

What Makes QAnon Dangerous?

Aside from the sheer infectiousness of the conspiracy, it also packages in misinformation regarding the Covid-19 epidemic, inviting people to fearlessly go into the world and spread the virus, killing people in the process. QAnon has also driven a few to violent action. These past few weeks, there have been plans to kidnap governors, and militias being formed to combat the Evil if Biden wins the nomination. The FBI considers QAnon as a domestic threat. The sheer sturdiness of QAnon in the mind is also dangerous. QAnon has become akin to a faith, and those who are devoted are rarely dissuaded from their position, no matter what appeal to sensibility one might have for them. QAnon is dangerous because of its misinformation and staying power for those who think they’ve found the truth.

 

QAnon needs to be fought against, as it infiltrates our community and misinforms our friends and family. If someone you know has fallen prey to QAnon, try to help them. Link them resources, have a nice conversation with them, or if they seem to be beyond that, you may need to settle for taking the politics out of your relationship. You may even decide to cut them out of your life. Do what you must. Be aware that QAnon is here, and if we aren’t careful, it will be here to stay.